Feet First, Again

8

April 3, 2019-

I began the work day ready to help keep our charges occupied, and relatively productive, as ever.  I ended the day, back in retirement mode- at least until I can get another position.  I chose to leave, after a brief pitch for me to take a position for which I am even less-suited than the one I have left behind.  I declined the offer, and the end game was set.

For all the platitudes that my co-workers and I have received, over the past two years, regarding loving and working with autistic children, there are people watching who do not have the best interests of those children in mind.  They are the ones who call the Governing Board, Human Resources-and the hapless school administrators.   I know this, because I once took the calls that my former boss has been getting.  I know this, because I heard the veiled threats and “you don’t know who you’re dealing with”- from individuals like the person who has been threatening me, personally, with the loss of my job, since last October.  I know this, because for refusing to take the earlier threats seriously, I was relieved of my position as Principal, in 1999, twenty years ago, this month.

So, it behooves my former supervisors to protect themselves.  Follow due process, but do not fall on your swords for others.  You are doing excellent work and deserve to remain in your leadership roles.  I will make my way, just fine, and being of “retirement age”, no one can come out of the woodwork, on the other side of the equation, and blast me for “not delivering”, as has happened a few times during my checkered career.  I will find work to tide me over until I hit 70, and, no, I will not heed the threats from last Fall.

My former co-workers remain like family and have already been in touch, wishing the best-as I do for them.

 

The Blessings Outweigh….

2

March 2-5, 2019-

This past weekend brought the beginning of our Nineteen-Day Fast, abstaining from food and beverages between sunrise and sunset, March 2-20 (most years), for those in good health between the ages of 15-70.  This year’s Fast is a bit complex for me, due to travel that will interrupt the practice (Baha’u’llah excuses the traveler; women who are pregnant, nursing, or in their courses;  the seriously ill and those engaged in heavy physical work).

I made good use of the weekend, participating in a seed education program, with one of the community groups in which I’m involved:  Slow Food-Prescott.  I am no expert on seeds, but I can still help with set-up and breakdown of the hall.  I also re-learned a lot about plants- seeds, as opposed to spores, and the various aspects of germination.

Sunday brought me back to Phoenix, for a large music festival:  McDowell Mountain Music Festival, ironically not held in Scottsdale, but in downtown Phoenix’s Hance Park. Two Drum Circles and time with a vibrant and highly artistic friend made the whole event worth the drive.

There was a most diverse group sitting in on the drum circles.20190303_152300

20190303_151154

This English band, Maribou State, was giving the last performance of its current tour.  It was their first visit to Phoenix.

20190303_171619

My friend was very busy with hoop dancing, and had been at it for three days straight.

20190303_155547

I headed back to Prescott in a prudent manner, and have had a good couple of days at work, this week.  Today marked the eighth anniversary of Penny’s passing.  I stopped at the gravesite on Sunday, prior to attending the Music Festival.  I was thus able to properly mark our connection, with a vase of white carnations, which were her favourite flower, and time in quiet reflection.  She loved drumming and had great respect for hoop dancers, so my participation in the former and encouraging Pam and some young women in the latter, was an homage as well.

Most important, though, I have continued with two of our shared passions:  Educating special needs children and advocating wellness.  I have, if all goes well, two years after this, in full time education.  Wellness, though, will be part of my life until it’s time to head beyond.  Essential oils and living a healthy lifestyle are the foundation of my thriving.

In a few short days, I head to South Korea, for the formal wedding of Aram and Yunhee, a return to Jeju and renewing my ties to one of our blessed homes together.  The blessings always outweigh any hardships.

Gratitude Week, Day 7: The Finest Fruits

9

November 24, 2018, Prescott-

I have decided to end this week of gratitude, by looking back at the ten best choices I ever made.  I am grateful to the Universe for having placed these in front of me and I have a measure of self-gratitude for having made them.

10,  Serving in the Army– At 18, I had little to show for my life. There was no discipline, of which to speak and my world consisted of drooling over girls and imbibing too much alcohol, too fast.  Other-imposed discipline gave me a regimen, which I could add to the work ethic that my parents instilled in each of us and it set me on  a course of self-reliance, which I still need and use.

9.  Studying Psychology- It didn’t make me wealthy and barely got me a job, but knowing something of what makes the human mind tick has given me insight into myself and has made me more understanding of others.

8. Living on the Navajo Nation- I have a strong genetic memory of the Indigenous. I am not much, in terms of blood quantum, but my nature fairly burns with the feeling that I belong in the woodlands; that I am a gatherer and a sharer; that I am one with the Universe. Being on the same page, day to day, with Dineh (Navajo) and Hopi people reinforced that unity.

7. Blogging-   Writing is a skill that three of my four high school English teachers saw as a talent that I needed to sharpen.  They gave me the tools to keep on sharpening that talent.  College brought it up another notch.  As a caretaker, and then as a widower, far from extended family, blogging gave me an outlet, one step up from journaling  (which I also still do) and a wider appreciative audience.

6, Returning to work, full time- In 2016, having been a substitute teacher, with a couple of other jobs, whilst being Penny’s caretaker, I found a niche at Prescott High School.  My place there was, more or less, secure and I was urged to return full-time, for the years leading up to my retirement from education.  That work has been fulfilling, and will remain so until I reach 70, two years from now.

5.  Working as a counselor- As a school counselor, I was able to impact thousands of lives, over the span of eleven years, between Tuba City and Keams Canyon/Jeddito, and some of those lives were saved.  I am haunted by  a few lives that weren’t and by those I couldn’t reach.  The majority, though, learned life skills and resilience, and knew that someone had their backs.

4. Settling in Prescott- The job aside, moving here after Penny’s passing was a lifesaver.  I had the anchor of a house, for the time I needed it, and of a Faith Community with whom I was already familiar and who were not intimate with Penny’s suffering.  That last was important.  I could not have the constant reminders of all that we had endured together.  Since then, I have made many new friends and branched out in several directions-all healthy.

3. Widespread travel-Besides going back and forth from Arizona to the East Coast, for family visits, my wanderlust has taken me to western Europe, Hawai’i, the Pacific Northwest and southeast Alaska.  I took in a small swath of eastern Canada, last summer and am likely to cross our northern neighbour again, in the summer of 2020.  California, Nevada and Colorado have also seen a lot of me, these past seven years, as have the South and Midwest.  This is an essential part of who I am.

2.  Getting married- I have always been crazy about girls and women.  There isn’t much about the opposite gender that I don’t like, though I am proud to be male.    Self-dislike got in the way, though, when I found myself drawn to one young lady after another.  Penny didn’t fall for any of that, and we built a solid foundation, by which both of us were able to tame most of our demons and raise a fine young man, who has taken his full place in the world.

1. Recognizing Baha’u’llah- I received a solid spiritual foundation, having been raised in the Roman Catholic faith. As I matured, though, the rituals and practices began to feel automatic to me, and I have always known that there is a continuity to Divine Revelation, superseding any one of the faiths or denominations that are commonplace.  In 1972, I heard of Baha’u’llah, and the Baha’i Faith, for the first time.  Nine years later, I embraced Baha’i as my own.  I have found its precepts teach everything in which I already believe, and the teachings regarding health are exactly what I needed, to tame the demon of alcohol dependence.  Far beyond those, however, are the vision of planetary and human unity-dispelling the darknesses of racism, nationalism and excessive materialism.

I am sure I will have other choices to make, in the coming days, months, and years.  Perhaps a life-changer will be among them, as well.

The Most Important Relationship Skill: Do You Have It? — phicklephilly

3

I found this article the other day and thought I’d share it here. Enjoy! For years I prided myself on being an excellent communicator. I built a previous career on an ability to express my feelings and be vulnerable with the people around me. While I was gaining recognition in the field for my […]

via The Most Important Relationship Skill: Do You Have It? — phicklephilly

Convergence and Re-emergence

6

October 9, 2018, Prescott-

It was a consummate joy to have been in Arcosanti, for 2 1/2 incredible days.  The social climate felt different to me than last year’s- in an incredibly beautiful way.  I think that is a continuance of the greater self-confidence I have felt this year, both at work and at leisure.

In one sense, the trials that come along have sparked incidents that have actually augmented the lessons which the trials themselves are meant to impart.  The vandalism to my Elantra, in Montreal, was followed by an evening of healing and joy, at Auberge Bishop, a visit to my Grandma’s hometown and the incredible celebratory weekend in Philadelphia.  A solemn, but blessed, visit with my mother-in-law, was followed by an affirming day with an old Baha’i friend in North Carolina and two days in the sun, with two other friends, in eastern Tennessee.

I felt my rhythm come back, that Sunday night in Montreal, explode in Philadelphia and flow like heaven, this past weekend.  A powerful new friend helped greatly in that regard, and more than she may realize.  Then, too, the music we enjoyed and in which we reveled, was a huge part of this flow.  There were academic presentations as well,  plus I served in the kitchen and in the Monday morning transition to another workshop week.

Insightful, talented men and women brought us to our feet, engaging body and soul.

Most powerful of all was Daniel Hirtz, whose love of the drum, as a sacred instrument of healing, imparted several affirmations of my own growing love of this instrument.  While a few sad, misguided people tried to interrupt Daniel’s session with us, it continued, until the group felt fulfilled.  Drumming and breathing are keys to healing.

Returning to Prescott, I resumed work with another  friend of power, who needed help with getting a safe living situation. That work has partly been achieved, and will continue, albeit around my other endeavours, until it reaches a sense of permanence.

As for my trip to California, it has been delayed by two days, so that the above-mentioned work will see a few more steps achieved, and that a dental procedure can be completed. More details about the coming Thursday-Sunday, in the next post.

For now, I am grateful to Daniel, Pam, Eliana, Tom, Jess, Nick, Conor, Beth Ann, Dave, Ray and all the kids-of-all-ages who made Convergence 2018 such a surging beginning to Autumn.

Old Haven, New Family

14

June 24, 2018, Spring Hill, FL-

I have hopped around a lot, over the past week or so, spending Father’s Day with my son, and daughter-in-law to be, in the Independence Hall area of Philadelphia, touring more historic sites in Baltimore and in Virginia’s Tidewater region, meeting a surrogate daughter for dinner, paying homage at a Baha’i property in South Carolina, then driving across the Palmetto State, for another afternoon visit with an old friend from Xanga days.

Camping, the other night, featured my tent protecting me from three separate downpours, which had thunder and lightning make several appearances. I visited a couple of small towns, prior to coming here, yesterday, after breaking soggy camp.

Edgefield has a lovely town square and many friendly people out and about. Aiken is even more engaging and welcoming, and has my newest coffee shop friend: New Moon. I put this establishment right up there with Wild Iris and Artful Dodger, whose praises I have sung more than once. As Artful was way out of my way this time, New Moon made up for it.

I cherish finding places in which I almost immediately feel like family. It certainly makes what could feel old, after a bit, a good deal more rewarding.

It was getting old, yesterday evening, driving across narrow mid-Georgia roadways and down along I-75. Ocala, though, has established itself as a mid-way comfort point, so I stayed at Budget Host.

Spring Hill is now part of my triangle of homes, with Prescott and Saugus at the other two points. There are many other safe havens as well, from southern California to Montreal, southeast Alaska to the Shenandoah.

So, regardless of what the next many weeks, months and years hold, I feel confident and safe. Oh, and I have started checking out computers, so photo blogs are not far from being back.

Glory in Perspective

6

June 19, 2018, Williamsburg-

I have used the two days, since leaving Philadelphia, to visit a couple of places that Penny, Aram and I missed on an ambitious, but tortuous, road trip, in 2007.

Throwing in a short photo shoot at the closed Edgar Allan Poe House, on Baltimore’s West Side, and some scenes in the Mount Vernon section, I found used on Fort McHenry, one of the places we missed, 11 years ago.

I found the structural aspects fascinating and Francis Scott Key’s complicated story, compelling. More about these, when The 2018 Road series resumes.

My next mission was to visit Penny’s second cousin, in southeast Maryland, as she had lost her mother, four months ago. It was a cathartic and crucial two hours.

As it happens, two other events occurred, as I was leaving HI-Baltimore: Penny’s only living aunt passed away, at the age of 99 and Aram got engaged.

Today, after meandering some, as far as Point Lookout, Maryland’s southern tip, I headed for Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the U.S. For lack of a $5 bill, I forewent visiting Point Lookout, with nearby Scotland Beach as a substitute. Just as well, as Jamestown is well worth a full four hours, or more.

This brings up the matters of nationalism and glory. Both at Fort McHenry and at Jamestown, the curators have taken great pains to illustrate the roles of people of colour in every chapter of our national story. I hope to see more of this, as the educational portion of my journey continues.

Stripping the Mindfulness Label

8

Finding Dharma

field-of-flowers.jpg

What is Mindfulness? I think the better question would be what is it NOT.

This year I have taken on the task of creating a business which offers mindfulness training and support for teachers (K-16) called Uplift Teachers. To start I completed an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course through the UMASS Medical School. Before doing this I was told by a mentor that I already was living mindfully but I have to admit I really wasn’t in a whole and complete way. I was doing daily gratitudes, trying to incorporate meditation into my daily life. I was definitely moving away from unrealistic expectations of perfection and the drive to push myself beyond my limits on a daily basis. This was all good and a definite beginning to living mindfully. But doing this course opened my eyes and showed me exactly how I was still caught up in the run…

View original post 537 more words

Who Are You?

4

Eclipsed Words By Aishwarya Shah

It breaks my heart that most people haven’t a clue about who they really are. Nearly all of the people I talk with, whether on the “path” or not, do not recognize the majesty of their being.

On the other hand, it is important to remember that we came to this planet as physical beings with the foremost intent to forget who we really are!

We wanted to have the experience of removing ourselves from Source (or God, or Goddess, The Divine or whatever) so that we could have the awesome experience of remembering.

That people forget really isn’t that big of a deal. But that people rememberis a big deal.

Why? Because if you remember that you are divine, you remember that in your divinity you have been given the gift of creation. You are a god being.

You are also eternal. You can never die…

View original post 253 more words

Blocked

26

May 2, 2018, Prescott-

I am now being asked to provide my e-mail address and name, for every comment I wish to make on any post in my reader.  Word Press refuses to recognize my e-mail address and its password.  So, if I seem like I am not caring about your posts- blame Word Press.  I have not trolled anyone, nor have I intentionally set out to hurt anybody.  WP, GET OVER IT!!